I lied… or rather, omitted some of the truth? Well actually, I actually did lie to a few people and for that, I apologize. Yes, I shared with you some reasons very true to my heart as to why I became so absent from my blog but I didn’t share the main reason. I know, I am being tricky and elusive so let’s just get to the point. I failed the NPTE (“the boards”) on my first attempt in April.
You read it right, I failed. I gave all I could but I didn’t give what was needed. I didn’t have the time or energy to dedicate to studying and my score reflected that. Now up until this week I had decided I would swear myself to secrecy and try to avoid telling as many people as I could about my devastating news. My mind changed this Tuesday when I received news that I passed the July NPTE! I did it, I might have failed but I tried again and I made it happen. I almost felt selfish keeping my strategies and story to myself, there’s plenty of successful PTs who also failed their first attempt and there are several students who will fail their first attempt. Good news is, I will still be an incredible PT, those who might have failed in the past are great PTs, and those who might fail the NPTE in the future will still become…you guessed it, great PTs.
So, what went wrong in April?
I was on my last 2 full time pediatric clinical internships, putting in 40-hour weeks and then coming home to prepare my mindset and treatment plans for the next day worth of patients. I was working at the school gym…closing shifts until midnight (I am not a night owl.) I was dealing with a health scare to a loved one. I was trying to still enjoy my life, and my weekends. All of these could be good excuses as to why I didn’t pass BUT I am sure I still could have passed despite these circumstances if I fixed the one variable that really had me in a poor state of mind. In my opinion, my biggest obstacle was my belief that since I did well throughout PT school that I would naturally do well on the NPTE. False! The boards are not purely a representation of how well you excel in the classroom or on clinicals…they are that to the extreme. I didn’t take them lightly, but I didn’t prepare for the boards as the beast it was.
So, what did I change for July?
First, I cried. I pouted. I loathed myself for a day or two. But then, once I was done feeling sorry for myself for a few days, I celebrated graduation, took a mental break, and checked my attitude. I started up studying Memorial Day Weekend and did so with a 180-degree attitude change from self-doubt to ultimate confidence.
This level of confidence was not achieved alone. I can credit my boyfriend, my parents, my friends, and most certainly Kyle Rice. Who is Kyle Rice you might ask? He’s the NPTE Prep Coach…but for me he was more like a life coach.
You see, I didn’t fail the boards because I didn’t know the content. I failed because I had poor test taking/question answering strategies and a HUGE deficit in self-confidence. Kyle, a fellow physical therapist, has dedicated his career to helping PT students dominate the boards by teaching them test-taking strategies. I learned 10+ awesome strategies that truly made the difference on my practice exams and obviously that translated to the real thing since I passed and all! Those strategies were game changing, but I am convinced that with those strategies alone I still might not have passed.
What Kyle inadvertently taught me was how to believe in myself. How to create habits that breed success. I woke up in the mirror and confidently told myself “I will pass” every day for 2 months straight. Yes, some days I still had doubt in my heart BUT the more I surrounded myself with positive people and others in the same situation the more I learned I really could do it…I could pass.
For anyone reading this because you may not have passed or maybe your fear is not passing… I highly recommend you check out Kyle Rice & his page, The PT Hustle. For those who are just supporting my blog and are proud of me for overcoming this…thank you! If you feel like you are failing at something, I think it is always appropriate to find a life coach and surround yourself with people who are positive. It wasn’t my plan to seek out a life coach, he stumbled into my lap. But the effects he had on my test taking confidence quickly translated to confidence in my career as well. I find myself lucky to have such incredible people who uplift me, old & new.
So yes, in April I failed the NPTE but hey…in July I PASSED and this month I begin my journey as a pediatric resident. Would you really say I am a failure? I sure wouldn’t… I think I am quite the WINNER. I have always been a “buzzer beater” kind of girl. Even if your clock is running down to the wire…take the shot. Believe in yourself. Even if you tie the game, winners shine in overtime.
I plan on writing more about this topic, so if you have any questions then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer them!